This time, Donald Trump used the military in a show of force and violence against peacefully demonstrating Americans for a photo op. He has 153 days left in office, and many just hope the country can hang on until the election. Yet, POTUS has shown how much damage he can quickly wreck. This time, his police beat a member of the media. What is next?
On Trump’s orders police attacked with batons and shot flashbang grenades, pepper balls, and rubber bullets into the crowd protesting police violence against black people. Ironic.
The baton hit an Australian cameraman outside of the people’s house. The world was stunned. There are a few more institutions on this president’s hit list: a free press, the postal system, access to the internet, and military force misused at his fingertips. One man has seen where Trump’s dark path could take an unwitting public, and he resigned.
Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and member of the Pentagon Defense Science Board James Miller resigned in protest, but will America hear him before it is too late?
The Washington Post reported that in his powerful resignation letter to the Secretary of Defense Mark Esper who commented that the National Guard did not shoot rubber bullets and pepper spray into the “civil unrest” and claimed ignorance. Miller wrote:
‘Where will you draw the line, and when will you draw it?’
The Pentagon official wrote that he swore an oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution:”
‘I resign from the Defense Science Board, effective immediately. When I joined the Board in early 2014, after leaving government service as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, I again swore an oath of office, one familiar to you, that includes the commitment to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States . . . and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”’
Then, Miller reminded Esper that he swore that same oath and accused the Secretary of Defense of violating it:
‘You recited that same oath on July 23, 2019, when you were sworn in as Secretary of Defense. On Monday, June 1, 2020, I believe that you violated that oath. Law-abiding protesters just outside the White House were dispersed using tear gas and rubber bullets — not for the sake of safety, but to clear a path for a presidential photo op. You then accompanied President Trump in walking from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church for that photo.’
Miller continued, pointing out that Donald Trump broke his oath and the First Amendment. He noted that Esper “visibly supported it:”
‘President Trump’s actions Monday night violated his oath to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” as well as the First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble.” You may not have been able to stop President Trump from directing this appalling use of force, but you could have chosen to oppose it. Instead, you visibly supported it.’
Next, the Pentagon official asked Esper “If last night’s blatant violations do not cross the line for you, what will?” He wrote:
‘Anyone who takes the oath of office must decide where he or she will draw the line: What are the things that they will refuse to do? Secretary Esper, you have served honorably for many years, in active and reserve military duty, as Secretary of the Army, and now as Secretary of Defense. You must have thought long and hard about where that line should be drawn. I must now ask: If last night’s blatant violations do not cross the line for you, what will?’
The former Pentagon undersecretary pointed out that Esper should know the terrible choice he will face:
‘Unfortunately, it appears there may be few if any lines that President Trump is not willing to cross, so you will probably be faced with this terrible question again in the coming days. You may be asked to take, or to direct the men and women serving in the U.S. military to take, actions that further undermine the Constitution and harm Americans.’
Then, Miller said that Trump’s language about a need to “dominate the battlespace” is powerful and sends “an extremely dangerous signal:”
‘As a concerned citizen, and as a former senior defense official who cares deeply about the military, I urge you to consider closely both your future actions and your future words. For example, some could interpret literally your suggestion to the nation’s governors Monday that they need to “dominate the battlespace.” I cannot believe that you see the United States as a “battlespace,” or that you believe our citizens must be “dominated.” Such language sends an extremely dangerous signal.’
Miller went on asking Esper who he wanted to be:
‘You have made life-and-death decisions in combat overseas; soon you may be asked to make life-and-death decisions about using the military on American streets and against Americans. Where will you draw the line, and when will you draw it?’
The former undersecretary continued, saying this resignation letter will be made public:
‘I hope this letter of resignation will encourage you to again contemplate the obligations you undertook in your oath of office, as well as your obligations to the men and women in our military and other Americans whose lives may be at stake. In the event that at least some other senior officials may be inclined to ask these questions after reading this letter, I am making it public.’
He ended with a powerful punch to Esper’s conscience with “the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution, and the lives of Americans, may depend on your choices.”
‘I wish you the best, in very difficult times. The sanctity of the U.S. Constitution, and the lives of Americans, may depend on your choices.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.